Categories
Careers Flexible Working Future of work

Working From Home: Are Employers Biased About It?

The term Working From Home or WFH, has been used a lot in post-lockdown times. Maybe too much? What I mean is; when a phrase or title is used so often, we can forget it’s literal core meaning.

Because of that, Working From Home has been a talking point as of late. And it is always referred to as a form of flexible working, which it is. But how flexible is it really?

Honestly, there are variables which mean that this question has a number of different answers and there inlies the problem. There is no solid answer to that question and yet there seems to be bias about the flexibility and freedom Working From Home offers.

What is the bias against people who Work From Home?

This all started when I saw a post on LinkedIn. A woman was calling out her husband’s employer for questioning why he needed a shift change to perform parenting duties. When his wife Works From Home…

This alone shocked me. But what shocked me more was the number of people commenting who related to this story. Which led me to question if there was a bias from employers about employees who Work From Home. I set a poll asking this question on LinkedIn and Facebook and 80 people responded.

Only 2.5% said they believed there was no bias against people Working From Home and that businesses understood the limitations. 42.5% said they felt some businesses understand and others don’t. While 55% said that they felt employers have the bias that Working From Home offers far more freedom and flexibility than it really does.

To add to this I saw even more shocking stories in the comment section of what this stereotype has done to people, their living situation and their families, some of them are extreme.

But what surprised me the most is how brazen employers are when questioning the working arrangement of other people who live in their employee’s household.

I fail to see how anyone cannot appreciate how inappropriate and unprofessional that is. If an employee is asking for any kind of leave or change in shift, it is no business of the employer to question why a person outside of their employ cannot perform the task needed.

What flexibility does Working From Home actually offer?

As I said before, it depends on the individual employer how flexible their form of Working From Home is. And the range of that is as long as it is short.

However, if we take it for it’s core definition, this way of working only refers to one thing; the location of where someone does their work.

So in theory, Working From Home in terms of flexibility only really impacts one aspect of someone’s working day. And that is the need to commute into work. This is the only solid difference between an employee who works in an office and one who Works From Home. Every other aspect is completely subjective.

Yet some businesses seem to think that employees who Work From Home have all the free time in the world. I have seen first hand this is not the case.

I know of people who WFH, whose shift patterns including; start time, break times and shift end are just as strictly regimented and monitored as if they were in an office.

Then, I know of people who used to commute to the office and are now casually expected to use the time they used commuting as extra time to spend working.

WFH, Parenting Roles and Unconscious Bias

A point was made by one of the commenters on the poll, questioning whether (when it comes to parents) employers’ attitudes differ depending on which parent is the one Working From Home.

This comment got a fair few likes. Then when I looked further, I realised the majority of people who voted were women and everyone who shared a personal story on the subject was female.

This does beg the question of whether this is a bias on WFH or more unconscious (or perhaps even conscious) bias against women in the workplace who WFH?

This could be yet another insight into the ongoing existence of gender bias and inequality in the workplace. With a bias against mothers Working From Home adding yet another layer to this.

Do I think that this is in actual fact the case? I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. I believe there are employers who still have gender equality issues and I believe there are employers who have an unfair bias about people who Work From Home. Some of these will overlap and become mixed with one another, but both need addressing.

FTDAWWFH (Free To Do Anything While Working From Home)

Clearly in extremes, this is what some believe Working From Home actually means. There needs to be a serious crash course on what WFH actually is.

Lesson 1 for businesses is reminding them what the ‘W’ stands for. Just because the location of where it is being conducted happens to be home, that doesn’t give the employees the magical ability to be able to take care of all domestic responsibilities while they are at work.

That insinuates that the work they do is less important or easier because they happen to be doing it at home, which clearly isn’t the case. Lesson 2 should be on further flexibility.

It’s clear from our data that some businesses believe WFH is all the flexibility anyone needs. First and foremost, if someone has 8-10 hours worth of work to do in a day, where are they supposed to find time to:

  • Clean the house
  • Do the laundry
  • Pick kids up from school
  • Look after children at home
  • Drop kids off at football, dance, karate etc.
  • Cook meals
  • Look after a sick relative
  • Deal with an unforeseen emergency
  • Go to a doctors, dentist or vet appointment

This list could go on and on, for some people their daily lives consist of this and more. So between all that which they apparently have full availability for, where are they finding the time to complete the 8-10 hours of work that has been set for that day?

Are they expected to work into the early hours of the morning? Because that sounds flexible. So why should they or their wife, husband, partner, mother, father etc. be denied any kind of flexibility to help with any of these responsibilities?

The Solution

Honestly, I think if there are any businesses suffering from any of the aforementioned bias I think they need some serious HR consulting. Working From Home is purely about location, what flexibility comes with that is a totally separate conversation for individual employers to have with their employees.

Although, no employee whether they WFH or not should feel unable to ask for certain needs to be met. And this certainly should not be the case for people who happen to have a member of their household who Works From Home.

There is no other way to put it: that it is not an employer’s business. It is quite literally someone else’s and that business just happens to have their employee Working From Home. And their work is every bit as important, time-consuming and attention requiring as any employee who does not conduct their Work From Home.

Either way, there is definitely a misconception about Working From Home and how flexible it is. The same could be said for the 4-day week which is another hot topic right now. See what John Adams has to to say on the subject and how flexible it really is.

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day in the Life of Director: Sally Marshall

Find Your Flex is delighted to be delivering our latest installment of the Day in the Life Of series. Sally Marshall is someone who wears many career hats, but is still able to find true work-life balance!

Sally is a social enterprise advisor as well as the director of her own business. Take a look at how Sally finds her day to day and what drives her in her career!

WHAT DOES A WORKING DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

I currently have 2 contracts with Social Enterprise Kent, working with business owners as a social enterprise adviser. This involves talking to businesses about where they are and where they want to be, putting in place a strategy for increasing awareness and growing their network.

I also work with community interest companies and charities and they often want help identifying and applying for funding. I also run my own business, so I work on that during the evenings and weekends.

I publish a business magazine, so networking is important when keeping the magazine in the forefront of people’s minds. I can do this through social media and engaging with other businesses.

I also have a membership for businesses offering group coaching, a monthly digital planner and social media templates. I know how difficult it can be to do everything in a business so I use my knowledge and experience to support others.

HOW DO YOU FIND A LIFE WORK BALANCE?

My role is pretty flexible and depends on which programme I’m working on and where my clients are based. For the Steer Your Business magazine, I schedule articles on social media during the weekend or evening which doesn’t take too long so it doesn’t impact too much on my personal time.

I’m also setting up a membership for sole traders and this again is automated a lot of the time, with intervention in the evening and over the weekend. I enjoy what I do so it doesn’t feel like work. I do however, plan some down time so that I switch off.

One of the downsides of having your own business is that you don’t switch off enough, so I know how important that is. Walking away from the laptop helps and switching off the phone as well which I do at the weekend.

ARE THERE ANY OPPORTUNITIES TO PROGRESS?

There aren’t any learning opportunities really at Social Enterprise Kent, particularly as I only work on short term contracts. But in my own business, I’m always learning.

My background in the House of Commons set me on the right track but there’s always room to learn more and develop my own knowledge and experience in different sectors.

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR ROLE?

The flexibility it gives me and the choices I have to work with different people in different businesses. I love the challenge and helping other businesses thrive.

IS THERE A DIFFICULT PART TO YOUR JOB?

Juggling everything! I need to be well organised in order to fit everything in. That is one of the reasons for developing the digital planner in a way that works for me and hopefully for others. It helps keep me focussed and on track. I also automate as much as possible so that I have more time for the face to face meetings.

IF SOMEONE WAS CONSIDERING A CAREER IN YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THEM?

I have a lot of transferable skills which I learned at the House of Commons. I didn’t realise how much I knew! I think it’s the same for everyone – you assume others know what you do so we all have something to offer.

I would advise them to research their market, work out what they have to offer and then just go out there and get started. If you wait until it’s perfect, you never actually start so running a business is a steep learning curve but in a good way.

THANK YOU SALLY FOR SHARING YOUR INSIGHTS AS A DIRECTOR! 

A great piece of advice from Sally! It’s inspiring to see a strong business leader so dedicated to her role and one who has so much passion within said role!

If you would like to gain even more insight into how to maintain a work-life balance while working in multiple roles, have a read of a day in the life of a lead power systems engineer and author and founder?

Categories
Flexible Working Future of work

Flexible Working and the Four-Day Week

We all know that one of the major outcomes of the pandemic has been a surge of interest in flexible working. I’ll admit I was a bit concerned this would be a short-term blip but no, I am seeing many more jobs advertised as flexible or employers making clear they are open to remote working.

Interestingly, I had to drive to our local train the other day. Getting a parking space after 8.30am was impossible prior to the pandemic. These days there are always spaces available, a sign that many people are working from home or hybrid working.

Has Working Culture become more Flexible?

Before we get carried away thinking working culture has changed for the better, some organisations seem to be very confused about what flexible working is. Some are offering a thin veneer of flexible working when what they’re actually offering to staff is inflexible working.

Nothing demonstrates this more than the present debate about the four-day working week. There’s even a campaign group calling for a four-day, 32 hour working week with no loss of pay (you can check out its website here).

I have issues with this. Anyone with a genuine interest in flexible working should do. Why? Well, a four-day working week might mean one less day working, but in every other way it is a rigid work pattern. If someone is trying to work flexibly because they have childcare or some other caring responsibility, a four-day working week is unlikely to help much. You still have to organise childcare or fit caring responsibilities around your work hours, hours that are likely to be very rigid.

A Four-Day Week is not always Flexible

Last year, staff from Vice Media Group lobbied management for a four-day working week. When I saw the publicity photograph used to generate publicity for their campaign, I could not help but laugh. It featured a group of Gen Z Vice staff, outside of their office pulling poses that would have looked great on Instagram. I found it very hard to believe that any of them had children or any other sort of caring responsibility.

For Gen Z creatives, a three-day weekend would have meant an extra day to go on a European city-break or to go surfing. I’m not criticising Vice staff. The desire to have more leisure time is a superb reason to work a shorter week. As this poorly thought-out publicity photograph shows, however, there’s only one small demographic who were likely to benefit.

What other impacts does a Four-Day Working Week have?

A further issue with the four-day working week is that work hours often lengthen. Some employers are up-front about this and ask staff to work longer hours in return for a three-day weekend. For others, job design and workload do not change meaning people often sneakily work during the weekend or evenings to keep on top of things.

This, of course, is probably the biggest issue with the four-day working week. In many respects it is based on presenteeism, not outputs. If a particularly efficient employee can complete all their tasks in three days by cutting out the commute and working from home, why not let them work that way?

A further fear of mine is how a four-day working week could impact on gender equality. My concern is that employers will be much more open to female employees working a four-day week on the assumption they have family commitments. This simply reinforces unhelpful gender stereotypes: i.e. men’s correct place is the workplace and for women it’s the home.

A Four-Day Week is just one form of Flexible Working, it won’t suit everyone

A four-day working week should only be one option available in the flexible working mix. For some people it will be the correct approach, but it simply does not work if you impose it on all employees. Employers also need to be very clear about whether staff will be working compressed hours or if they work 32 hours a week and they need to be extra careful about reinforcing gender stereotypes.

Oh, and one further interesting point. Back in 2017, Vice published an article headlined: A 4-Day Work Week Isn’t Necessarily Better For You. It actually makes for a very interesting and balanced read. Isn’t it ironic that it was published by the very people now lobbying to adopt this method of working?

Of course, a Four-Day week is not the only form of flexible work that has been overly focused on by businesses since the pandemic. Hybrid working has been largely looked at by businesses as the only form of flexible working that is necessary. But take a look at why this is not the case and why Hybrid isn’t always flexible.

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day In The Life Of The Lead Power Systems Engineer and Author & Founder of Butterfly Books

We’ve been lucky to gain so much insight from people in a number of different roles. Now Find Your Flex is ecstatic to be presenting the next installment of our Day in the Life Of series.

The amazing Kerrine Bryan tells us how she achieves life-work balance with not one but two roles! Kerrine manages a career as a Lead Power Systems Engineer and is an Author and Founder of her company Butterfly Books. Take a look at her working day to see exactly what balance is!

What does a working day look like for you?

I work in the energy group for WSP USA, which is a global engineering and professional services consultancy. Based in New York, my role is a mixture of technical, project management and business development work. I’m working on some exciting power generation projects including co-generation, energy saving studies and renewable power. For my engineering role typically – I start early around 7 am and start off responding to emails and sorting out any admin. My role involves design so I use software to calculate electrical requirements to ensure electrical systems are safe for use. Mid-morning and early afternoon I tend to have meetings – those could be internal or client meetings. Then back to design work in the afternoon. Occasionally I have project site visits, mainly in the New York area, but I have also traveled to other states and countries for my work.

My work for Butterfly Books includes general running of the business, writing new books, and coordinating with the team on content that will help us make a social impact and spread awareness about our mission. We work closely with other organisations when creating the books so there are often collaboration meetings and our busiest time is when we have a book launch. But that’s also a lot of fun too!

How do you find a life work balance?

I’m married and have two daughters who are 4 and 2 years old. My husband and I moved to the US just before they were born so we don’t have the family support that we would have if we were in the UK. Pre-Covid, just like many industries, the engineering and energy industry were less flexible, but the pandemic has forced them to move to more flexible working patterns and companies have been able to see that it can work. My current employer has always been flexible. I’m currently working part-time in my engineering role, so that’s 3 long days per week. This gives me the time I need for organising the kids (including school run and extra-curricular clubs) and also keeping Butterfly Books going – which is a UK based social enterprise.

I work on the Butterfly Books on the days off for the few hours whilst the kids are in school and also in the evenings once they are in bed. My husband does the school run on the days that I’m engineering, and I do the school run on the other days. The flexibility of my engineering role has really helped be achieve work-life balance.

Are there any opportunities to progress?

Yes definitely, particularly with the skills gaps in engineering there is always an opportunity. I was recently supported by my employer to study for and take a US professional exam. This involved me taking some time off to study, working lots of late nights. In terms of running Butterfly Books and being a business owner, that’s more self-learning/. By building a network of people doing similar things, as I have done, we learn from each other too.

What is the best part about your role?

The best part of engineering is that not one day is the same. Every day presents a challenge, so work is never boring, plus I always learn something new every day. Similarly with running my business, Butterfly Books, it’s a continuous learning curve. But what keeps me going is knowing that we are working towards having a positive impact on equality across industries and different careers.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

I can honestly say that there haven’t been too many difficulties in my engineering role. The publishing industry, however, is very traditional and rigid with many barriers to entry. This is something I’ve had to circumnavigate when setting up Butterfly Books.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

If someone was considering a career in engineering I would say to speak with engineers – and if you don’t know any then there are plenty of resources or organisations that can put you in touch with engineers – such as the Institute of Engineering and Technology. When it comes to publishing – I’m still learning – but again it’s the same approach of reaching out to organisations and building a network to share ideas and learn from others.

Thank you Kerrine for sharing your insights as The Lead Power Systems Engineer and Author & Founder of Butterfly Books!

Thank you so much to Kerrine who an excellent role model for anyone who is driven and is looking to have a varied professional life while still maintaining life-work balance!

To read more about what a working day looks like in different roles, why not take a read of the day in the life of Business Support Manager Akinsanya Tolulope!

Categories
Careers Flexible Working Future of work Output

Productivity, Productivity, They’ve all got it in for Me!

The figures from the Office of National Statistics are in and they make for very interesting reading. What figures are these? Productivity estimates for Q4, 2021.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. The figures show that remote, flexible working has created a more productive workforce. Not just productive, but a workforce that is more productive working fewer hours.

Line Graph showing the increase of Output Productivity and hours worked from 2008 to 2021.
(Line Graph showing the increase of Output from 2008 to 2021.)

The Productivity Numbers Don’t Lie!

There is a vast amount of statistical detail and analysis behind the figures produced by the ONS so I’ll keep it simple. Prior to the pandemic, average hours worked by UK workers were 32.1 a week. For the final quarter of 2021, it is estimated the average number of hours worked was 31.6 per week. Output, however, was 0.8% above 2019 levels.

Interestingly, on the day these figures were published, my wife had been working in her office. It was the first time she had gone to her workplace for ages. I happened to tell her about the ONS stats and she said: “Well I left the house this morning at 7.30am and I’m just back now, so that’s a 12 hour day and I’ve spent maybe six of that actually working.”

I think my wife’s comment sums up the problem with the old, inflexible working culture. Everyone wasted time commuting to an office to use a laptop when that same device works perfectly well at home.

So to Maximize Productivity should we Abolish Office Working?

No, I am not suggesting we should get away of all offices forever. I think that is unrealistic and they do serve a purpose for team building, training, occasional meetings etc. Nonetheless, the figures suggest a predominantly home-based workforce, one that doesn’t pollute the planet travelling to work each day, is more productive.

I had long wondered what impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on productivity. It was reasonable to think things could be that bad because I didn’t hear any employers saying the productivity of their staff had tanked when the ‘work from home’ orders were in place in England. I have to caution that the ONS stats are estimates, but if they are correct, they show that remote work is productive work (It is also worth noting this set of stats are the first set to be produced following the ending of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which had an impact on productivity levels).

Creating a Productive Future of Working.

What I hope this leads to is a discussion about presenteeism and flexibility. If you can be more productive working fewer hours, why should you be online or in the workplace simply because your contract says you should? Better still, if you can be more productive without travelling to a workplace, why should you experience the stress of making that journey in the first place?

This is particularly relevant for fathers. Research carried out at the beginning of the pandemic by the Fatherhood Institute found dads spent more time with their families and took on more of the domestic burden when they no longer had to commute to work.

Could we possibly reach a point where employment contracts state that they expect you to work: “38 hours a week or until you have completed allotted tasks to your manager’s satisfaction, whichever comes first”? I’d like to think this is the next logical step.

Prioritising Productivity Going Forward.

Now is the time to ask these questions. The work from home order is no longer in place in England and it does feel like we are entering a new phase of the pandemic. Potential conflict in the Ukraine and Prince Andrew’s legal battles are dominating the news headlines (for all the wrong reasons I should stress) but COVID is way down the news agenda. After two years of this nonsense, we seem to be drifting to a point where we are adapting our lives and accepting the fact COVID is here to stay.

What COVID did was get everyone thinking about working culture: Employees, employers, trade unions, academics and policy makers. As part of this drift to a new normal, we must not forget about the progress made in adopting flexible and remote working. There’s now evidence to show productivity has improved by working this way. If anything, now is the time to shout loudest to make sure we don’t slide back to less productive working patterns. After all, unproductive working patterns are bad for everyone.

To find out more about Output based working have a read of our piece on Input and Output – The Human Mechanics of Work!

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BUSINESS SUPPORT TEAM MANAGER: Akinsanya Tolulope

It’s important in every company to keep the ball rolling in all areas of business. That is why the role of Business Support Team Manager is one of the most instrumental roles within any business, as they are often the people to turn to for all forms of support that will ensure employees meet KPI’s.

This is why Find Your Flex is so excited to be presenting the latest installment of our A Day in the Life of series. As we gain insights from HMRC’s very own Business Support Manager Akinsanya Tolulope! Who explains the responsibilities of her role and how she maintains work-life balance.

What does a working day look like for a Business Support Team Manager?

I ensure that the CCM and regime teams are supported in delivery of the Large Business operating model. Directly line manage a cross regime team of Band AO’s who support all stakeholders across LB SNI and undertake general corporate support duties. I ensure that my team meets all KPI’s and successfully deliver on the support functions within their remit. A day in my role would start with ensuring that the arranged cover for the regional mailbox is available and if not, to find a suitable cover as soon possible. To find a suitable cover, I will have to communicate the situation with the team and ask for volunteers to cover fully or partially. I must ensure that work is picked up across the team and that nothing misses the KPI’s.

I review my teams leave position, approve any request and discuss any inconsistencies with the affected person. I am also one of the single points of contact for the regime handling systems. I manage access and permissions for colleagues on the regime handling systems and the mailbox within my line of business. I am a key member of the Race network, actively supporting the business to deliver on REAP. So, I spend part of my days catching up tasks to deliver on some of the network’s projects.

How do you find a work life balance?

HMRC is one of the best organisations when it comes to supporting employees on work-life balance. As a mother of two and an employee who lives an hour by driving from my primary place of work, I have benefitted greatly from available support. My role allows me to work from home, office or a mix of both.The organisation takes individual circumstances into consideration and appropriate measures in place for adequate interventions.

Are there opportunities to progress?

My role comes with opportunities such as apprenticeship, management development programme and wider HMRC/Civil service opportunities. This opportunities do not only help to excel in my current role but also have the potential to develop the right skills for future endeavours.

What is the best part about being a Business Support Team Manager?

The best part about my role is the opportunity to learn a little bit about everything and learn something new almost everyday. Managing a team that works across regimes means that aside from gaining knowledge on these regimes, I also get to collaborate with colleagues across different regimes. So I’m constantly meeting new people and regularly updating my knowledge of how the organisation works.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

Managing people can be quite challenging especially when there is the need to align their personal needs with organisational needs to achieve a positive outcome. I navigate this by gaining comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter. Communicating the benefits for the organisation and the individual to the affected person(‘s) and negotiate the best outcome for all.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give them?

Be open to learning and make the best of every opportunity.

Thank you Akinsanya for sharing your insights as a Business Support Team Manager

It’s exciting to hear about such a challenging and varied role! And one that clearly takes a lot of passion to do well and we are so grateful to see how passionate Akinsanya is about her work. We know this will inspire readers who are of the same mind and what like to get into a role in the same field!

There are a variety of roles out there! If you want to read what its like to work in these, why not take a look at are other ‘A Day in the Life Of…’ installments!

Check out A Day in the Life Of R&D Category Lead: Aline Mor to find out more!

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day in the Life Of R&D Category Lead: Aline Mor

Nestlé is one of the most globally recognised organisation in the world. And one of the most exemplary organisations for Flexible Working. Which is why the Find Your Flex team is excited to be expanding on their roles and how work/life balance is made a priority.

There are many roles within the global confectionery company, in this instance we are happy to be getting the inside scoop from the R&D Category Lead – KITKAT and Healthier Snacks; Aline Mor. Aline sheds some light in her working day and why she enjoys her role so much. She also highlights the importance of planning when maintaining work/life balance. Join us in finding out more from Aline, as it may inspire you to pursue a similar line of work.

What does a working day look like for an R&D Category Lead?

It is a busy and diverse day with many interactions with my team and people in all parts of the world to discuss future innovation opportunities and our live R&D Projects, with delicious product tasting as well.

How do you find a work life balance?

I always try to protect parts of my calendar to make sure I can bring my daughters to school most of the days, have time for lunch and have time for exercise. I also always go to the office by bike, which gives me a great fresh start of the day and a way to decompress at the end of the day before arriving back at home. If working from home, I always start the day with a walk.

Are there opportunities to progress?

There are many opportunities to progress in such a big company as Nestle with so many product categories and different functions in the UK and around the world.

What is the best part about being an R&D Category Lead?

The best part is definitely to work in such a diverse/ inclusive environment and have a multicultural team to lead, develop and coach to deliver new amazing products to delight our consumers and grow our business around the world.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

The most difficult part is to manage my own calendar to ensure I am focused on the right things.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

Discover what activities can help you to re-energise and have a good work life balance and protect and prioritise them in your calendar.

THANK YOU TO ALINE FOR SHARING HER INSIGHTS AS AN R&D CATEGORY LEAD WITH US!

An amazing take on the working life of an R&D Category Lead. It is clear to anyone reading that Aline loves her job, yet is also steadfast in maintaining a healthy work/life balance. We can all learn a lesson from this, as even when we have access to flexible working, it can mean nothing without our own commitment, ownership and planning. This is an important lesson for us all to keep in mind, once again thank you to Aline Mor for providing this.

If you are curious about other potential career paths, or perhaps want to know what it is like guiding others through their career path, have a read of A Day in the Life Of a Life and Business Coach: Veena Hedges.

Categories
Business Careers Future of work Interviews And CV's Recruitment

Salaries In Job Descriptions: Candidates want Employers to be Upfront

Find Your Flex is a platform with a purpose. And that purpose is to build a better future of work for all. Today we are discussing salaries in job descriptions!

Recently we conducted a poll on various social media platforms on the inclusion of stated salaries in job descriptions. The response was overwhelming.

We asked the question: “If a Salary isn’t stated on a Job Description does it put you off?

The post went viral, reaching over 100,000 views and over 4,100 people voted. 84% of people who voted said; yes they would be put off by a job description that does not state a salary.

Many of the voters supplied their reasons why and we noticed a particular pattern forming.

No Time for Time Wasters

It usually puts me off entirely. If the job sounds like a particularly good fit and I enter a discussion with a recruiter about it, the salary range is the first question I’ll ask. If the recruiter won’t give me the salary range at the start, I’ll politely end the call there as I don’t want to waste my time.

The most prominent reason given for why people would be put off applying, was that they didn’t want to waste time.

Supplementary to that was that most people apply for jobs that will continue to facilitate their lifestyle needs.

Applicants don’t want to waste their time applying. Only to find out further down the line that the salary will not sufficiently meet their needs.

How can you make a decision about viability of changing a role/ company if you can’t equate whether you could continue to afford to live your existence?

Applicants also see this as a lack of respect in valuing their time. Or even shows ignorance about the amount of time and effort candidates put into their job applications.

If a candidate really wants a role they can spend hours catering their CV and covering letter specifically to that role and company.

Why should you spend the time and energy polishing a resume, applying, stressing, interviewing, waiting…just to find the salary range is something you would have never applied for in the first place?

Salaries in job descriptions – a lack of transparency results in a lack of trust

Good candidates who pull out are less likely to apply to the organisation again and more likely to share their experience with their connections.

No company should ever underestimate the power of word of mouth.

It only takes one applicant to have a bad experience during the recruitment process for this to snowball. Social Networking and Social Media is a huge part of our daily lives.

All it takes is one post by an applicant with the right social connections to spread the word about how poor an employer’s recruitment process is.

I somehow always get the impression that these companies are looking for the highest skilled employee who ticks all the right boxes whom they can then insult by offering as little as possible for their services.

This all contributes to a company’s brand reputation. When it is clear that one aspect of the business has a negative reputation, it starts a domino effect in the eyes of the public. It’s clear to see their train of thought:

If a company has poor recruitment, they must be a poor employer. If they’re a poor employer, the service can’t be great. If the service isn’t great I should take my custom elsewhere.

Even in its simplest form, if you’re not being open about yourselves as an employer, why should candidates trust you?

Believe you are good and fair employer? Then literally put your money/salaries where your mouth is so candidates will know it!

If you are proud of what you pay your people you will have no problem, putting this out.

Don’t play games with people’s livelihoods

What puts me off is when the recruiter asks what salary you expect. I just reply, asking what the company is offering. You can’t beat around the bush… it gets you nowhere and does no one any favours in the long run … Be up front and don’t treat it like a game. Life is too short!!

Even if salaries are negotiable, a range between the minimum and maximum should be advertised to show applicants where they stand.

And once those negotiations begin, both parties need to be forthcoming about what their expectations are to meet a certain salary.

This is important as salaries can also help an applicant determine their level of seniority.

The ludicrous requirements for even the most junior roles make it difficult to determine the seniority, in a way that salary absolutely defines.

In negotiating anything, both sides need to be aware of the stakes. A candidate needs to know what it is they are negotiating for. It is better to state a salary in the job description than make applicants struggle to negotiate in the dark. This is just another form of playing games.

And its important that the employer is not considered a dictator, as this once again impacts their reputation. If the salary is negotiable, both parties must have something to negotiate with.

“Negotiating power lies with the employer if a salary isn’t listed. Whilst you can negotiate during the final stage of interviews, you should at least see salary expectations and that your potential employer has done some research into the role before you apply.

Just ticking a recruitment box?

It makes me feel like the recruiter is just trying to collect CVs to stick in a database and tick a box.”

This may not be just about salary. A lack of effort and details in a job description will be a sure sign to any applicant that the employer is not overly interested in the quality of the applicant.

But it is clear that to some applicants, an unstated salary is a red flag that employers do not care about the application and are just ticking a HR box.

Thus sending a message that employers don’t care enough to put in the research of the role they are recruiting for. And what the standard salary is for such a role.

If you don’t advertise a salary then for me it says to a potential applicant is these guys are potentially looking to do this on the cheap or have no idea about the marketplace and so can’t even pitch a salary for the role.”

It can also show a poor HR department or recruiter. As top quality candidates who know their value will be looking out for a salary. These will be less likely to apply for the role.

Where an abundance of perhaps under-qualified candidates will be in their place resulting in hours of sifting through applications.

“It usually means HR and hiring managers spending unnecessary time sifting through more CV’s and interviewing candidates that if they discover the salary is too low will pull out.”

Salaries in job descriptions: The candidates have spoken. Now employers must listen

The response was loud and clear. The general theme that employers have a responsibility to state salaries in their job descriptions cannot be ignored.

If employers continue to omit such crucial information from the job description they not only risk losing potentially amazing recruits, but could be doing substantial damage to their brand reputation.

To conclude, its not difficult to state a salary in job description, even if its a range between the minimum and the maximum, at least then everyone knows where they stand. The only one that stands to miss out on not stating a salary is the employer.

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Careers Flexible Working Future of work

A Day in the Life Of a Founder and CEO: Alex Tomchenko

Alex is the Founder and CEO of Glambook; an all-in-one platform created to aid beauty professionals grow their budding businesses. Alex has an extremely positive and forward-thinking outlook on the life of a CEO. He highlights how much time, dedication and hard work it takes to build a thriving business. While also pointing out the need to decompress when you can and leave business at the door and make time for yourself. 

Alex also has some unique views on the meaning of progress and how transferable skills can be used to help build a brand. He also points out the importance of utilizing fresh talent prepared to soak up new ways of doing things and how this can be more beneficial to growing businesses than recruiting based on experience. This is definitely a mindset geared toward the future of working and we are excited to learn more about Alex and his working life as a Founder and CEO.   

What does a working day look like for a Founder & CEO?

I wake up at 7:00am and after a nutritious breakfast I start checking my inbox and messages. We meet with the team at 9:00am to help us align on priorities and set up the tone for the day. Before lunch, I’m focused on monitoring our results and growth and take a few more business meetings. After lunch, I spend time on mapping out business goals and tasks, aligning on workflow and hosting additional meetings. Towards the end of the day, I look at our daily progress and that helps me identify our goals and tasks for the next day. I go to bed at 11:30pm.

How do you find a work life balance?

To be honest, it’s not easy to strike a perfect work and life balance during the growth stage of a startup. What helps is that I work on something that I’m truly passionate about and I do it together with my wife, who is my co-founder. While we don’t have a strict schedule that divides our business and personal lives, we manage to find time for both. Usually, we are busy with work during the day and late evenings are reserved for things not related to business.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Progress is an important part of life. However, progress doesn’t necessarily mean doing something new. Often, it’s finding a new way to do something. At Glambook, we’re doing just that, finding a way to transition the beauty industry into the digital space. I’m a believer that opportunities for progress are always here and they will always be available.

What is the best part about being Founder & CEO?

The best part of my job is to have freedom to create a product the way you envision it. To create a product that will bring value to your users. If you can’t find something that works for you, you can create it. During my 13+ years spearheading a digital marketing agency, I gained valuable experience in promoting and growing other people’s products, so now I am fortunate to have an opportunity to finally use those skills and experience to build and grow my own product.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

Challenges help you have a different perspective, think outside of the box and look for alternatives, which means constant growth and development. I’m not a big fan of formalities – to have a meeting for the sake of having a meeting, or create documents for the sake of having them, so I prefer to focus on things that matter, bring value and make a process more meaningful.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This is something I’ve learned the hard way during my time at the digital marketing agency. It’s a much smoother and easier task to bring a beginner up to speed than trying to ask an established expert to re-learn and do things differently. An established professional may already have their own point of view and past experiences that prevent them from seeing a full picture. For someone who is just starting out in a new industry, there’s a much higher chance of being successful. Be curious, goal-oriented and motivated by the project you’re about to kick off. As the saying goes, if you’re trying to do the impossible, do it with people who don’t know that this is impossible.

THANK YOU TO ALEX FOR SHARING HIS INSIGHTS AS A FOUNDER AND CEO WITH US!

These were some amazing and unique insights from Alex, who shows us what it means to have the entrepreneur mindset, having not only the passion to create something unique but also to keep your eye on the future. Alex showcases a forward-thinking mindset, highlighting the fact that experience isn’t everything and if you do have experience, it is important to be flexible in your approach to different aspects of business. A refreshing take on the working life of a Founder and CEO! Alex also made the point of how his skills in marketing were transferable when creating his own product and business, which is something all of our readers should consider. We hope you enjoyed reading all about Alex’s amazing and interesting work life!

For other takes on the working life of a Founder and CEO why not have a read of A Day in the Life Of a Founder and CEO: Alex Bozhin.

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day in the Life of the Head of UX & Optimisation: Becky Franks

This week Find Your Flex is excited to be delving in to the life of Becky Franks; Head of UX and Optimisation for the Co-Operative Bank. But it doesn’t stop there, Becky is also the lead their Digital Bees colleague network. As a woman who wears many hats for the company and does so splendidly, we are ecstatic to see what Becky’s working day looks like. We hope our readers will find this interesting and perhaps even consider Becky’s path if pursuing a career in the same field!

What does a working day look like for the Head of UX & Optimisation and Lead on Digital Bees?

One of the things I love about my job is the variety of my role. In UX we have 5 teams, UX Design, Research, Service Design, Content and Optimisation. One day I might be in a workshop coming up with ideas for new propositions with the UX team, the next day I could be working with stakeholders outside of the team looking at how we tackle diversity and inclusion across the Bank. Through the Digital Bees I have spoken at events, conferences, to students and the general public to improve their digital skills and confidence. No day is the same.

How do you find a work life balance?

My work life balance is good, as a Digital Leadership team we regularly review how the teams are working and if anyone is working over their hours we will raise this with the individual to find out why. We have always been able to work from home which makes a real difference as you can us your lunch times to sort out things at home or go for a run. I real enjoy the flexibility of being able to work from home.

Are there opportunities to progress?

100%! I have been at the Bank 4.5 years and have been promoted twice. I started as a Manager, moved to Lead and am now a Head of. There are always opportunities for people to progress who work hard and align to our values.

What is the best part about being the Head of UX & Optimisation and Lead on Digital Bees?

I really enjoy Leading my team and the Digital Bees and I love supporting people to progress and get the best out of them. I like bringing people together and tackling any issues as a team. There are some really talented and knowledgeably people in the team and I love learning from them.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

One of the most important parts of my job is to build strong stakeholder relationships. And make sure that the team does the same. Working from home means you have to put extra effort in. And make the effort to call and speak to people to resolve any issues before they escalate. It can also be hard to support so many people, my diary is usually back to back with meetings I sometimes miss out on supporting the team and attending meets as I just don’t have enough hours in the day.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

Go for it! We have a really mixed team. Some people have degrees others have worked in the Bank and moved into the team and learnt on the job. Everyone has to start somewhere, if you want a role in UX there are lots of online courses. Be proactive, complete courses and do some voluntary work in UX, it looks great on your CV. If people tell me they don’t have time to do that I’d question how much they really want a role in UX! Opportunities are there but you need to work for them – you’re the only person who can change your career.

Thank you to Becky for sharing your insights as the Head of UX & Optimisation and Lead on Digital Bees!

It is inspiring to see someone take on so many responsibilities and also make the time for work life balance! Becky has given a perfect example of how hard work can pay off. And how to go about climbing the ladder of an organisation like the Co-Operative Group. We at Find Your Flex thank Becky Franks for giving us the scoop on what her working day looks like. And what it could look like for you if you wished to pursue the same or similar role!

If you want to find out about the work days of other careers, why not have a read of A Day in the Life Of a Co-Founder and CPO: Jacob Sever?

emails suck right? Not ours.

subscribe here for your regular dose of flex news and jobs… (no spam we promise!)

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse on this website, you accept the use of cookies for the above purposes.